LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Amber Fontenot says she was one of more than 20 employees laid off by Waitr Thursday morning. She says the employees at the office here in Lake Charles had no warning before being laid off via video chat.
“I don’t even know how to explain it," Fontenot said. "It’s like a punch in the gut. It’s awful. It stopped being a company that cared about it’s people and started being a company that care more about numbers and who they hurt along the way.”
Founder and CEO of Waitr, Chris Meaux said in a statement:
“As part of the Bite Squad acquisition, there became areas of overlap within the Company. With that, we have made the difficult decision to streamline select parts of the organization through a synergistic reduction; no jobs are being outsourced. We believe this will help maximize efficiencies and is necessary to best position our organization for continued growth and future success. We remain committed to the growth and development of the company in Louisiana, and are focused on strengthening our team in Technology, Customer Success, Sales and Accounting, among other areas of growth.”
But Fontenot says that reduction resulted in people who have been here since Waitr’s beginning to be ousted.
"These are people who have poured their soul into this company, like they have been here since we were working out of the S.E.E.D. Center,” Fontenot said. “They wouldn't be where they are if it wasn't for these people it just let go. They didn't deserve that." She says in a tight-knit community like the lake area, this move could really hurt Waitr.
"Lake Charles is growing, but it's still a pretty small community and there has been numbers of people deleting the app and are refusing business because how they went about this layoff," Fontenot said.
She says in her 18 months of employment, the company went through drastic changes.
“A year and a half ago it was not the same company, it was a company you were proud to be working with,” Fontenot said. “We were just working to make something greater. I guess we achieved that and we were no longer of use to them.”
As of yet, there is no exact count of how many employees were let go. When asked for an up to date comment, the company referred us back to their statement from Thursday.